Monday, June 08, 2009

Ancient Church, Meeting Tommy & Waffles for Breakfast

Our last stop on our first day of sightseeing was in the town of Kilfanora where we learned a lot about the Burren botany and geology in the Burren Centre museum, followed by a visit nearby to an ancient church, St. Fachnan's.

Notice how narrow the street is? That's the church in the background. The blue bit at the back is a covering they have placed over the deteriorating high crosses and older sections of the church. It is very old...eleven hundreds.

That is one of the awesome thing about travel...getting to experience really old places.

It has some 12th century crosses with beautiful, although very worn, knot work designs, plus tombs of bishops.

During the time of the potato famine, Kilfnora was the smallest and poorest diocese in Ireland. Because they were barely able to hold it together Pope Pius IX in 1866 declared himself the bishop...a very unusual situation. There is a bishop's head over a carved window in one wall

and an ancient tomb inside the church with a very eroded tomb cover carved with a bishop.

The day had been a sunny one most of the day...rare indeed...but it started to cloud up in the late afternoon after we left the church. Sweetie tried to start the car, but found that some part wouldn't connect with he flywheel (he understood the mechanics, but I'm clueless). The museum was closing in 15 minutes and we were many miles from Ennis. He went into the museum and they helped him look up the Hertz phone # and called around the corner to Connors Garage.

This is looking back toward the pub just around the corner from Connors.

Tommy Connors came over, tried to start the car and confirmed that it was indeed a non starter. He walked back over to his shop and drove over a huge car carrier truck with a winch and pulled the car up onto the flatbed and secured it. The amazing thing was that Tommy did all of the talking to Hertz and arranged an exchange. We never even talked with them or signed anything! Next we were treated to a swift ride through country Irish roller coaster in some his son Jason drove the big truck hauling the car and took us back to Ennis where he dropped us at our B&B. He then drove to Shannon Airport, exchanged cars and dropped the new one at our B&B.

If you are ever in Kilfanora and have a moment, go say "Hi" to Tommy and Jason...two truly wonderful Irishmen and fun to talk to. We were really lucky that we broke down there instead of at one of the ruins on a back road and really, really lucky to meet Tommy.
A full Irish breakfast

was one of the pleasures of staying at B&Bs in Ireland, but I did find that I missed baking.
Once we were back at my Mom's and at the end of our stay, I offered to make breakfast. We had some fat, juicy blueberries from the market and delicious, sweet, ripe strawberries from the farmer's market. I decided to make yeasted waffles. The only waffle iron we had was for Belgian waffles, but they make some crispy, decadent waffles when paired with the fruits. I baked the blueberries in the waffles

and spooned sliced strawberries over. No butter or syrup was needed with these babies!
No sourdough starter needed for these either, just some time overnight.

The advantage of this recipe is that you start the batter the night before and only need to add the egg and melted butter in the morning.

Now, it's true, there is still some cleaning up to do and waffles do take a while to bake in the waffle iron, but the amazing ease of putting the batter together, plus the fact that they taste great, makes it worthwhile. An added bonus is that the house smells like freshly baked bread...hard to beat on a lazy morning.

The ingredients for this are so simple that most people will have them handy in the pantry. That makes it so easy to whisk the first part together one evening, cover it, let the little yeasties do their thing overnight, then finish it off and enjoy the next morning. We had a couple of cooked waffles left over (I know, hard to believe, but we did try our best to demolish them all...and failed) and they went into the freezer and then a couple of days later the toaster oven...and were still delish.

Sending this recipe over to Susan at Wild Yeast. Happy first anniversary for Yeastspotting Susan! This is one of the best place to see yummy yeasted recipes every week...check it out at

Amazing Overnight Waffles
from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe' Cookbook

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg (I used ¼ cup egg substitute)
Nonstick spray
Butter for the waffle iron
Sliced strawberries – optional, but nice
Pure maple syrup – hard to resist on waffles

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl Add the milk and whisk until blended. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature (or put in the fridge if room temp. is over 70 degrees F.)

The next morning, preheat the waffle iron. Melt the 6 tablespoons butter and let cool a bit. Beat the egg is a small bowl (unnecessary if using egg substitute) then beat it into the batter along with the melted butter. The batter may be a bit thin.

Lightly spray the hot waffle iron with non stick spray, top and bottom plates, and then butter a piece of bread and use that to rub some butter on top and bottom plates.

Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface…this varies by waffle iron…about 2/3 cup. Lower the top and cook until golden brown…it’s OK to check now and then. It takes about 2-3 minutes. You want it golden brown, but not dark brown.
Serve hot, right away, with strawberries and maple syrup, or toppings of your choice.

Note; If you have too many waffles for the number of people you are feeding, bake the leftover batter a little less than the ones you are eating, let cool on a baking rack, then freeze and store in the freezer tightly wrapped. Re-heat in the toaster.


  1. The waffles look excellent.

    I've been pondering buying a waffle iron for some time now. But first I have to overcome my uni-tasker anxiety. :)

  2. Great story, it's so cool how the people you need so often just happen to be there. Great waffles too! And thank you for the anniversay wishes.

  3. Reminders of the kindness of strangers is one of the best reasons for travel. What a great story, and I'm in envy of your blueberries!

  4. Been enjoying your series of posts and wonderful photos about Ireland.

  5. This is an excellent recipe and one I'd forgotten. I always loved that it was mostly ready from the night before.

    This is the kind of travel story that makes it all wonderful. Good people are really every where.
    Loving your trip!

  6. I laugh at your note at the end...who has leftover waffles...just eat those babies!

  7. Alas, waffle irons are hideously expensive over here - and we have no idea why that should be!

    Perhaps we could use it for pancake batter, instead.

  8. Andreas, There is nothing like a good, crisp waffle, but you can also add a little more flour and use these for pancakes. The iron I used for these was a yard sale find of my Mom's and looked unused, so I hear what you are saying about uni-tasker fears.

    Susan, Happy anniversary of Yeastspotting again! It's true that we often find what we need when we need it if we are open to it.

    Tanita, Those blueberries were huge and very tasty. They made getting the waffles out of the iron a bit difficult as they burst and stuck to the top grid. The people we meet are truly one of the best parts of travel.

    Jude, So glad...there is more to come.

    Tanna, I agree...almost finished first thing in the morning is a big part of the appeal. Glad you are enjoying the trip journal.

    Peabody, It's true, there are never any leftovers when I make them.

    Davimack, These would be fine as pancakes; just add more flour to thicken up the batter a bit.